Thursday, December 31, 2009
Saturday, December 26, 2009
Friday, December 25, 2009
Wednesday, December 23, 2009
Tuesday, December 22, 2009
so I'll share it here.
2009 was an incredible year for me, especially from a human-connection standpoint. I have always loved people. I am facinated by personalities and love to learn from and interact with others...always have. So when I joined Facebook in January, I was blown away.
I was back in touch with people I thought I'd never have contact with again. I was back in touch with people I had completely forgotten about. I had an easy way to share my life with my online-only friends. I spent some time actually missing some people. When we reconnected, I remembered the reason we were friends in the first place, and I was lonesome for their actual phyical position in my life. I have made peace with web-only relationships, though. Our communications will never be the same, and for that, I am grateful.
In regular news, we had a regular year.
Cory worked his ass off.
I worked my ass off (had a lot of listings; but not very many sales...'tis the market today). I spent a lot of time raising my kids.
Cole successfully entered 7th grade, got his Gun Safety Permit, and went hunting (and shot his first doe).
Matthew is a typical four year old. I love this age of learning. Right? Everything is a question..."Mom. What letter does 'shoe' start with?" "Mom. What words start with 'L?'" "Mom. What is that word?" "Mom? How do you spell sister?"
Jack is...Jack. You already know him, I think. Love personified.
We're happy. We're super healthy (thank God). We're ready to kick some butt in 2010.
I wish you love this holiday season. I wish you comfort, and warmth, and happiness. God bless.
Sunday, December 20, 2009
We met in May 2002 and pretty much knew by the end of that summer that we wanted to spend the rest of our lives together. So, I was kind of waiting for the proposal. There were two occasions prior to that Sunday that I was pretty sure he was going to do it. I was wrong.
My mother-in-law's family had planned an ornament exchange. I think his cousin Scott (Shane?) had my name. I had no indication there was anything going on, except I do remember noting that it was strange that everyone had their cameras out the entire time. I just thought they made a really big deal out of ornament exchanges...seriously, each person holding up their ornament for photos, videotape...big ordeal. When it was my turn, Cory had wrapped my ring inside a glass ball ornament. It was wrapped in tissue, though, so when I pulled on the ornament string, the whole top popped off, so I pulled the ring right out. Cory got down on one knee and well...that's the story. I said yes.
A couple weeks ago, Jo wrote a lovely blog entry about her wedding and asked how we knew He was the one for us. I told her I'd blog about it, but now that I'm doing it, I'm finding it hard to put into words. All of it is so cliche and really was this:
I just knew.
I think Cory and I had had enough Wrong to recognize Right. We were both worn out from really hard relationships, and there was just never anything hard about ours. We communicated easily, connected instantly, and to this day, have nothing but the greatest respect for each other. I can honestly say that I never had a moment's doubt prior to our wedding, or since. I realize that this is the greatest of blessings.
I'm an idealist, not a realist, so I believe with all my heart, that we'll be together forever. I do believe that God brought us together at exactly the right time...after all the heartache of previous relationships so that we never take for granted what we have together.
Oh, and a great Part II of this story. Cole wasn't with us that day. So the next time we were together, he was sitting on my lap (he was five) and we were putting up the Christmas tree (a tiny three-footer, as I recall it). I told him that Dad had already given me my Christmas present and that I was wearing it.
"That sweatshirt?!" he asked of my grubby garb.
"Nope," I told him, "It's on my hand."
"Oh, that ring?!"
I told him that it meant that his dad and I were going to get married.
He pumped both fists in the air, "YES! I'm gonna have TWO moms!"
(Bet he doesn't feel that strongly about that still today!)
I just knew. I just know.
Tuesday, December 15, 2009
Friday, December 11, 2009
And I'm the kind of mom who doesn't like to leave the house a mess to come home to, so it's a lot of work to get out the door. Cory is working today, so most of it fell on my shoulders this morning (to his credit, he helped me with everything I asked him to yesterday. God bless my sweet husband.).
--- I typed up three long paragraphs about how it happened, and then realized it wasn't that interesting. ---
This is the short version: Matty plowed into the corner of a wall at 10:30, half hour before our anticipated leave time, and left a gaping, bloody wound.
It's my first head wound. I didn't know what to do. Cory was in an all-day training. I called our friend Chuck, a paramedic, and then realized that it was Friday, not Saturday and he wouldn't be available to help me. I called Matt, a friend, firefighter and EMT. He didn't answer. After I carried Matty upstairs, Chuck called me back (wonder how frantic my voicemail was...?). He asked me a few questions and urged me to take him in. I decided to err on the side of caution and do just that.
As I was loading the kids up, Matt called me back. He said he didn't have to be at work at the fire station until noon and would head right over. By then I had a new plan and told him I appreciated it, but it wasn't necessary. I already had the bleeding child loaded up and the other two at my inlaws.
Long story short, they didn't have to stitch it, they just put a little Durabond on it - glued it together instead of sewed it - and after tons of blood and even more tears, all was well.
Matt called me a little later saying he planned to have the guys come by in the fire truck to cheer Matty up (we were already enroute to Brainerd). Chuck sent me a message saying to call him anytime - day or night - whenever I needed help. Those guys rock. They make me feel warm and special and loved. To have that kind of support system is amazing and I am grateful for them.
And with three rough boys, I'll probably need them again.
Tuesday, December 8, 2009
Sunday, December 6, 2009
"This is all my 'tuff."
"Don't touch my 'tuff."
"Can you carry my 'tuff?"
This is tonight's version of 'tuff. Hope you enjoy it as much as I did.
Thursday, December 3, 2009
Monday, November 30, 2009
Cory said his dad used to make him a lot of toys. He remembers all of those handmade treasures so well. And now, his dad made me something too.
I asked for this creche for Christmas. Well, last year I had suggested it, and my mother in law thought maybe my father in law could make it. I put it back on my list this year, thinking maybe he would. He did. When I got to my inlaws on Thanksgiving, I found what my father in law had put together. He looked at the measurements of my nativity set, and made it just tall enough. He didn't want to buy an entire bail of straw, so he scooped up some of what was laying on the ground around the hay bails at Bachmanns. Don't tell. Stolen hay in Jesus stable. Heh.
Here it is, completed:
Sunday, November 29, 2009
...all my friends were grown-ups. Shari would go to school and I would go down the street to a number of elderly couples' homes - primarily Ellen and Wally Harris and Paul and Tea Keifer's. My mom said she worried I would never have friends my own age.
And she might have been right for a time. Friends my own age wouldn't feed me treats and let me fill the bird feeder. And tell me I couldn't drink coffee because I might get a black neck. I loved those days.
I wasn't yet in kindergarten, so I suppose I was Matty's age. It makes me think how important the memories he's making today are so important. I hope my boys earliest memories are as happy as mine are!
Wednesday, November 25, 2009
I've really enjoyed doing the Thankful statements. Next year I'll probably just do one week, but it really has been a good exercise to say what I'm thankful for out loud. There is so much to be said for gratitude. I am thankful for it, in itself.
1. I'm thankful to be a woman. To be living in an age and country where women are allowed to be strong and intelligent is one of my greatest blessings. I told Cory recently that it's too bad for him he didn't know he married a feminist. In all fairness, I didn't know he married a feminist either. In the past few years, I have realized more and more how strong I am and how empowered I am by my gender. I might blog about this again in the future...if I didn't already.
2. I'm thankful for all of you. All of my friends. My sisters. Bits and Pieces.
3. I am thankful for my children. All of them. They are beautiful, intelligent creations of God. I am overwhelmed at the responsiblity God gave me to raise them, but am honored that He did. They are a joy.
3. I am thankful for Jesus Christ, my Lord. That I am free because of His sacrifice.
I wish all of you a happy and safe Thanksgiving.
All my love.
Monday, November 23, 2009
Saturday, November 21, 2009
The boys are getting older. In the past month or so, they really play together. They run around together, play hide and seek, chase, and wrestle. I love it. As a consequence of more together time, they also fight more. They hurt each other physically more. They need to forgive each other more.
I have a really concrete Forgiveness Plan in this house and it's usually when they make me angry. It goes like this:
Child: I'm really sorry, Mommy!
(and somethimes: I said I'm really sorry, Mommy!)
Me: I forgive you.
And I force myself to forgive them. Even when I'm still mad. Because that's what real forgiveness is. It's not just words. And it's hard. Really hard sometimes. Matty, the sensitive one, isn't usually okay with just an "I forgive you." There are frequently requests for smiles to affirm my forgiveness..."Please, Mommy, just smile at me!"...and almost always followed up with hugs and kisses.
This has been an interesting exercise for me. It's really hard to just stop being mad. But they have challenged me to dig deep and discover what it really feels like to forgive. I'm grateful for that.
In the past month, I have also needed forgiveness from a friend. In converations about something really important to both of us, we both let our emotions get in the way. We said hurtful things to each other. And, at the end, when it exploded, we talked it out. And we forgave each other. Because it's the right thing to do. Life is too short to make enemies. To harbor ill will. Even when we hurt each other and when we're hurt.
We can't say we believe in forgiveness if we don't practice it, right?
There's a really good book called Amish Grace. It's about the Amish that forgave the shooter who came into their schoolhouse and shot those children some years ago. The book affected me deeply. They were able to forgive a man who killed their children. I think they're right. I think we need to forgive even when it's hard. I pray to God that I never get the opportunity to test how forgiving I really am. And I pray that if I do, I pass the test!
Tuesday, November 17, 2009
The reality is, it's a world where blended families are the norm, and children become the pawn between adults who should know better. Stepparents love their stepchildren less than their own and as a consequence, the children harbor feelings of inadequacy for life. I have had the pleasure of speaking to adults who grew up in a blended family, and they have been able to shed invaluable light on my situation.
For those of you who don't know, Cole is my 12 year old stepson. He had just turned five when I met him, and had his sixth birthday the month of our wedding in 2003. (So hard to believe now that Matty is creeping up on that age!)
I told Cory shortly after we started dating that I thought it would be best if Cole's mom and I were friends. I had learned that Kelly was about my age (two months older). I thought I could be sensitive to her role as I entered the family if I worked hard enough. I do not know if she thought this was important at that stage in our relationship, but I knew her friendship was something I had to try to have.
I'm sure it was hard for her. Cole had asthma as a child and as a consequence, she was very protective of him. Understandably. I didn't know him in those days, but I've seen the video of his wheezing while he was just crawling around. It wasn't until I was a mom myself that I truly appreciated what she had to go through those first few years of his life. It must have been hard to have me, a stranger, march in and stake a claim on her child.
We had a few bumps, as I recall it, but it didn't take very long. Kelly came to our wedding, and has been an important part of our lives ever since. The boys call her "Auntie Kelly" and spend a lot of time with her. She is Matthew's godmother and loves the boys so much. I have the unbelievable privilege of knowing that if I'm struggling as a stepmom, she'll have my back. She's always been wildly supportive of my helping to raise Cole and I do not take that lightly; I know how unusual our healthy relationship is.
I hope she knows how much I value her. I hope she knows how much it means to me that she has shared Cole with me the past seven and a half years, and how much it means now that she's sharing Vance with us too. And, most of all, how much I value our friendship.
In this time of Thanksgiving, this was one of the most obvious, and one of the most emotional to write. I wish the same happiness and love in your family this holiday season and forever.
Monday, November 16, 2009
Retinal Perspectives encouraged me to do this today. It's a good day for me to dig deep and find happiness around me. Closing eyes now...sigh...thinking...
My children playing together; my husband playing with my children
Elderly couples holding hands
My children learning; their eyes full of excitement and wonder
The boys just out of a bath
Friday, November 13, 2009
My apologies for not realizing that would be confusing for some people...
Thursday, November 12, 2009
Sunday, November 8, 2009
But mostly I love her because she loves me. No, more than that. She understands me. She gets me. And when she doesn't, she pushes until she does. And I know I drive her crazy. I know our
That's how well she gets me.
Saturday, November 7, 2009
Wednesday, November 4, 2009
Tuesday, November 3, 2009
My friend and her husband have two children. He works two part-time jobs, more hours than a full-time job, but has no access to health insurance through either employer. She was employed for a health care clinic, and they offered health care to her, but not her family. Because my friend has a history of health issues, she of course purchased a plan through her employer for herself. They were working hard to make ends meet.
Six weeks ago, she got injured. She fell and broke her ankle. She had to have surgery to repair it, and it included seven pins and a plate to put it back together. Her husband did the best he could to pick up extra hours to cover the difference, but it's obviously been very difficult. During her medical leave (unpaid), she was laid off. Not only does she now have no prospect for income in the near future, she also lost her health insurance.
The State of Minnesota is currently paying 60% of Cobra for nine months if you lose your job. She and her husband are going to be able to cover the expense of Cobra for those nine months then, but have no idea what they'll do beyond that. She is not yet in good enough health to find another job, and isn't sure when they will be.
Here you have a hard-working family who cannot afford to buy private insurance for themselves. It's not because they're lazy (which seems to be the code word for anyone who would benefit from a government option) or want someone to just hand it to them.
My opinion always has been that we should have a government program, with affordable premiums, available to all Americans so that people like my friend and her family do not have to go without health insurance. I cannot even imagine what would happen if something else happened to any of them!
For those of you who oppose a plan like this, what do you suggest? They are not alone. If you look around, you'll find countless people who do not have access to health insurance through their employer.
I'm just so sad that the proposed plans are weak. That they're really not going to help anyone in this tough time. I'm sad that we're not taking care of each other.
It's been awhile since we talked about this. Anyone up for a discussion? (As always, anonymous comments are not allowed.)
Sunday, November 1, 2009
Thursday, October 29, 2009
Tuesday, October 27, 2009
The thing is, Jack is two and a half. It's not hard to be out there with them anymore. He does disappear from time to time, but it's nothing like the past years when he's been in an exersaucer or 18 months and unsure of boundaries. They love it, and I love it. Especially when I am able to capture this moment:
Plus, how fun is it to photograph these colors? I can't get enough. They go as fast as they come, so I'm soaking them up.
Monday, October 26, 2009
Sunday, October 25, 2009
6 T butter
1 T chopped onion
3 c chicken broth
2 c cooked wild rice
1/2 c diced ham
1/2 c finely chopped carrots
3 T slivered almonds (optional)
1/2 tsp salt
1 c half and half
Sautee onion in butter. Stir in flour, let it cook until smooth. Add broth. Cook together, stirring. Boil one minute. (I add my carrots at this point and let them boil to soften them a bit.) Add ham, wild rice, almonds, and salt. Stir in half and half. Heat only to serving temperature; do not boil once you've added the half and half or it will separate.
Wednesday, October 21, 2009
All you have to do is tell me that you've done your monthly self-exam and I'll enter you in the drawing for a bag of Amy's Blend coffee or tea (and if you drink neither, there are some cool water bottles available). And if you're a man, and you read my blog, then tell me you've reminded your wife, or your mom, or another important woman in your life to do hers. Actually, it's a good idea for you to do it, too! I saw this story in the news this week. Breast cancer can affect anyone.
Drawing will be held next Friday, October 30 at noon.
*Note: I am aware that if my coffee hadn't dripped all over, this photo would have been a lot better. It was really full. And it was raining.
Sunday, October 18, 2009
What you can't see is the stuff he carries inside of him. His light, his thoughtfulness, his intelligence, and his amazing capacity to love. He loves EVERYONE. He talks to everyone, smiles, waves, and greets all people. I love that about him.
A week or so ago, we were at the grocery store. A very elderly woman was in line behind us. He was making eyes at her and she was smiling at him. He turned to me and asked, "What's his name is?" I said to the woman, "Ma'am, wants to know your name." She told us her name was Eunice. "Oh, HI, Eunice!" said my sweet little man. The look in her eyes told me that at that moment, he made her happy.
He makes me happy every day. Even when he's sassy. It's my prayer that he always uses all of his weapons for the better good. For his momma and all of humanity!
Friday, October 9, 2009
I love fall. The colors are startling beautiful. I love fall desserts. I love the feeling of a warm fire and apple cider on a chilly day.
I also despise it. It's the last hurrah before it's bare branches and snowflakes. Actually, I don't mind the snowflakes. I just hate the cold. It's so hard to have two little rugrats who need to be bundled everywhere we go.
You know what? Never mind. I'm going to make the best of it. Here are the winter positives:
1. We can play outside. Jack is 2 1/2 and can really enjoy the outdoors this year!
2. They can kind of dress themselves. Yes, we'll have sloppy wet clothes, but I'm going to come up with a drying solution in my mud room. I've been blessed with a really great big room inside the garage that I can come up with a better system than we've had in the past.
3. I have an electric blanket. I'll be warm at night. :)
4. And before it comes, I get to enjoy Autumn. I'm not going to let the winter 'foliage sleeping' season to bring me down. It's my choice, right?
Happy weekend, everyone!
Monday, October 5, 2009
When I explained to my sisters that couldn't make an desserts right now because my apple peeler/corer/slicer broke last fall, they all said they don't own one, either. They peel by hand. GASP!
Call me lazy or spoiled, but I'm heading over to the local hardware store to procure myself a little peeler/corer/slicer so I can make some apple crisp, for much less effort than my sisters. Peel away, ladies.
What's your favorite fall dessert?
Monday, September 28, 2009
I will never run a marathon. I'm pretty sure that if I'm going 26.2 miles, I'm gonna drive there. I admire those with determination to do it, I'm just not one of them. I'll go down to the river and watch the marathoners, I'll give them the support they deserve. It's an achievement for athletes, and I hold them in high regard.
But I could run a 5k. I saw runners who were obviously struggling (and heard stories of some who were struggling, but it wasn't obvious), but they did it anyway. And 3.2 miles is nothing to sneeze at. It does take a measure of discipline to be able to complete it. I actually ran one once. I finished near the end with two elderly (and by elderly, I mean 70s...?) gentlemen who encouraged me the whole way. I don't remember my time, but I remember the feeling of accomplishment. And I want that again.
How about you? Do you run? Have you set a recent goal? Inspire me!
Thursday, September 24, 2009
Seriously, I have a lot on my mind. I've just had a hard time putting it into words. I have several topics in mind, but I'll run with this one:
How do we actually 'love' others?
I have been thinking of this a lot. If I am to love my enemy (and I believe I am), how do I do that? First, I have to define my enemy. Who is that? Someone who threatens me physically? Then I guess we have to look at our global enemies, those who might take away our physical freedoms, right? I think that's the easiest way to define the word. Then how do we love them? Pray for them? Send good thoughts? Physically MOVE OUR BODIES INTO ACTION and help them? Julie just read a book called Three Cups of Tea, maybe she can share some of that here.
I think that's too easy, though, too literal. Who else do my enemies include? People who have hurt me? Sure. People who still hurt me? Yep. And when I dig deep into that well, there is where I see where I'm lacking in love. Without getting into politics again*, I will say that others' viewpoints have hurt me. And I know that's wrong. And unjust. But sometimes people, through their opinions alone, have caused me pain.
So...what have I been working on? Loving them for our differences. I just re-read Embraced by the Light (changed my life years ago and was as powerful this time), and I realize now that it doesn't really matter if we have differences. We're all on different spiritual journeys and they're supposed to be different. We're supposed to see things differently.
So sometimes, when I see a hateful status update, or a venomous blog entry, I need to learn to leave it alone. To pray for peace and happiness for that person or entity and move along. And don't feel those negative feelings towards them. It's counterproductive and, frankly, a waste of precious time. I don't think loving them means trying to convince them that I am right. I don't even think it means calling them out on their negativity (although I did that once or twice). I think it means loving them for exactly who they are. Even if I don't agree with it.
Mindi and I have mastered this. We've had lots of practice. Politically, we are classic Right and Left. We have a very hard time finding middle ground. But it's humbling how our relationship has changed, and grown, because of our love for each other. And our love for humanity, actually.
Who else, then, is our enemy? Anyone who challenges our emotional comfort? Anyone who takes more than they give? Anyone who makes poor decisions and makes others suffer for them? Anyone who makes us angry? Anyone whose lifestyle we do not condone?
And, most importantly, how do we love them?
*From now on, I'm going to try to keep my political conversations to facebook. Because it's as exciting (right, ladies?!) and there's no risk of anonymous posters. If you want to be my friend there, find me. I accept everyone.
Thursday, September 17, 2009
(Discussing their "homework." They had to color an elephant their favorite color.)
Matthew: My elephant is green. I colored it all by myself.
Grace: Mine is a rainbow elephant.
Matthew: Brown isn't in the rainbow.
Grace: No one helped me either!
Matthew: Do you like my fancy shirt?
Grace: It's awesome. Do you like my shirt? My mom bought it at Penney's. Like her name.
Grace: Do you like my pants?
Grace: Do you like my shoes?
Matthew: Yes, and I like your socks! Do you like my shoes?
Grace: They're awesome.
No, kids, YOU'RE awesome. Hope you have a great first day of school!
Wednesday, September 16, 2009
2 1/2 cups un-cooked broken spaghetti
1/2 stick butter
3 T onion, chopped
4 oz can mushrooms with liquid
1 can cream of mush soup
13oz can evaporated milk
1/4 tsp marjoram
1/2 tsp salt and celery salt
2 cups cooked chicken (canned works well, or rotissere chicken)
1/2 cup cheddar cheese (I use More)
Parmesan cheese to top the dish
Cook spaghetti until tender, drain and rinse.In skillet, melt butter saute onion and mushrooms. Add soup, milk, seasonings, chicken and cheese. Put spaghetti in 9X13 buttered casserole. Pour sauce over top and sprinkle with parmesan cheese. Bake 30 minutes at 325 degrees.
Tuesday, September 15, 2009
1. Silence is golden. And kind of strange at first when you're not used to it.
2. The house stays very clean when I'm the only one in it.
3. Time for Mom is the greatest gift a Grandma can give.
4. Sleeping in is very foreign. But dreamy. Literally.
5. I can get more done in six hours alone than 40 hours with kids
6. I love my mom.
7. The boys bond better with Grandma when Mom isn't there.
8. There are a lot of mosquitos in the country and my boys are wearing proof of that.
9. It's good for City Boys to act like Country Boys once in awhile.
10. I missed them.
11. I still miss Cory. Four more days!
Wednesday, September 9, 2009
Tuesday, September 8, 2009
Please know that I already entered. I kind of want to win, but getting serious about our finances scares me. I know that's ridiculous, but no question I'm the spender in this family, and I'll have some habits to change. And change can be scary, but it can be GOOD.
Here is her information:
So I took Dave Ramsey's FPU and L.O.V.E.D. it. Have I ever told you that? And I've always wanted to give his class away to someone who really needs and/or wants it. It's invaluable information and I want to share. I want you to love it like I love it. (Remember: his class can benefit everyone. From someone severely in debt, to someone who just needs to learn about insurance, real estate, investing, etc. Basically, everyone.)
After browsing his website and seeing that it is on special, I decided now is the time. I even called Dave Ramsey's office and secured the special price until the end of this month, to make sure I am covered. You'll learn things like that in his course. I giggled and told the customer service rep that I wouldn't pay full price because I took the course and I'm smarter than that.So, (ahhhhh! I'm letting out a scream. I'm a little nervous and a little giddy. It's a big deal to me.) that's what I'm going to do. I'm offering a drawing for either an online class or (better yet) an actual class. If it's offered in your area. The lucky winner can pick which one they want.
And I'm drawing the name on Saturday, September 19th at 11:59 a.m., MST.To enter, you need to solemnly swear that you will follow through and take FPU. Please. Because I know that there are some of you who won't win that truly will invest their time into it. So, please, do that for me? It's a big deal to me. Thanks.
Good luck! May the biggest spender win. Hehe.